Bicycle retailers concerned about state tax on new bikes

Bob Kamzelski, co-owner of City Bikes, says the new bike tax will likely impact his business more than higher end bike shops because his customers are lower income. (KATU Photo)

The state of Oregon will be the first state to collect a tax on new bicycle sales. The charge is part of a $5.3 billion transportation package in the state.

The new revenue will be collected from all bikes sold over $200.

"I think cycling is a really great thing to do for the planet, for our city. It's healthy for the people that do it and adding another barrier to entry is not good," said Bob Kamzelski, co-owner of City Bikes in Southeast Portland.

A new KHS bicycle at City Bikes retails for $639. An additional $15 tax would increase the cost to $654.

Kamzelski said his customers are more concerned about price and are not able to spend thousands of dollars on a new bike.

"Most of our customers are lower income. I think it's going to affect us more than higher end bike shops," he said.

Bikes with a wheel diameter of 26 inches or smaller are excluded from the tax. However, some children's bicycles will still be taxed.

Islabikes' only U.S. office is based in Portland. The company sells bikes to all parts of the country, Canada and Mexico, plus Europe.

Maria Schur, with Islabikes, told KATU News many bike models will be taxed. She said those taxes will likely be applied to those models purchased out of state.

"We don't support it. It seems to go against our city and the state's quest to empower people and encourage multi-modal transportation," Schur said.

The revenue source is expected to generate $12.7 million over 10 years.

Gov. Kate Brown is expected to sign the legislation into law.

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